Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius


This book was one of the most unique I've ever read, in that the author himself was a Roman Emperor. In Meditations, Marcus Aurelius shares his thoughts and his philosophy on a range of topics including life, death, religion and human relationships. Listening to it on audio book felt surreal, as if I was listening to the actual man and he was sharing his human experience with me. The voice actor did a fantastic job.

The book full of wise advise as well as some great one-liners:

  • "Waste no time arguing what a good man should be. Be one!"
  • "Without a change of view, what alternative is there to slavery"
  • "Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective not the truth"
  • "The universe is change, our life is what our thoughts make it"
  • "Happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts"

These quotes, as well as many others, are as applicable now as they were in his time; they transcend millennia. That's what was most amazing to me. I felt connected to a man who lived around 2000 years ago. He may as well have written it today. 

I have 2 criticisms:

For one, the advice was great. But I'm not sure I agree with it's stoic nature. I certainly don't know his life in depth, but I imagine it would be difficult for Marcus Aurelius to regard his enemies with the same indifference he preaches in this book.

Two, it was hard to understand. At times I felt as though I was listening to a modern man. Then there were certain parts I had to listen to 2-3 times over to understand. Others I had to skip entirely because they felt so dry. At times, it almost felt as though I was listening to a numbered list rather than a story or an interesting conversation. 

That being said, I enjoyed the book. I would recommend it, but only if you're into philosophy and/or history. Otherwise you can google "Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius" and get your fill of his wisdom in the form of quotes.